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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs Z Fold 5: Which premium model should you buy?

Samsung just took the wraps off of its latest foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 6, but how does it compare to last year's model? I break down the details.
Written by Kyle Kucharski, Editor
A comparison photo between the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Fold 5
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

Samsung this week announced a handful of new devices at its Galaxy Unpacked event in Paris, and one of the most exciting was its new flagship foldable phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 6. Improving on last year's model, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is slightly lighter yet way more durable, with a new IP48 water and dust resistance rating and improved physical design. 

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked July 2024

But some of the most exciting features of the new Galaxy Z Fold 6 are its integrations with other Samsung wearable devices, such as the new Galaxy Watch Ultra and Galaxy Ring, both of which made their debut this week as well. 

However, there are plenty of reasons to go for Samsung's flagship foldable from last year, as the Galaxy Z Fold 5 remains one of the most powerful foldables on the market in 2024 (while costing a little less). If you're having trouble deciding between the two, let's break down the key differences. 


Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (2023)

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 (2024)


Cover screen: 6.2-inch AMOLED, Main screen: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120Hz   

Cover screen: 6.3-inch HD+ AMOLED 2X 120Hz, Main screen: 7.6-inch AMOLED 2X 120Hz





Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3

RAM/Storage12GB RAM with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB 12GB RAM with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
Battery4,400mAh  4,400mAh
Camera50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto, 4MP front (inner), 10MP front (outer)
50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto, 4MP front (inner), 10MP front (outer)  
ColorsIcy Blue, Phantom Black, Cream, Gray and Blue Pink, Navy, Silver Shadow, plus two online-exclusive colors in White and Crafted Black  
PriceStarting at $1,799
Starting at $1,899

You should buy the Galaxy Z Fold 6 if...

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

1. You're planning to buy one of Samsung's new wearables

Some of the best features of the new Galaxy Z Fold 6 are those that integrate with the other new wearables that Samsung announced this week, such as the new Galaxy Watch Ultra, Galaxy Ring, and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. The new Galaxy Ring, for example, pairs with the smartphone via a much-anticipated location-tracking app that allows you to find the ring should it become lost. For users with the Galaxy Buds 3 earbuds, the Interpreter mode translates audio in real time while they're connected to the smartphone. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 vs. OnePlus Open: Which foldable phone should you buy?

In addition, new double-pinch gestures with the ring can activate certain actions on the smartphone, such as snapping a photo or turning off an alarm. And to sweeten the deal, if you preorder one of the new wearables, Samsung is giving you $50 off the purchase of the new Galaxy Z Fold 6.

2. You need a durable foldable phone

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 Online Colors
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

The Galaxy Z Fold 6 is slightly more durable than its predecessor, earning an IP48 water and dust resistance rating. This means it resists dust and dirt particles less than 1mm and can survive being submerged in up to 5 feet of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. In practice, that means this phone will have absolutely no problem being dropped in the sink (or other unmentionable household water sources). 

Also: How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6, Flip 6, Watch Ultra, and new Galaxy Ring

In addition, the device's physical body has increased durability with its dual-rail hinge design, which Samsung says greatly improves its shock distribution. The folding edge also has enhanced resistance to pressure and sharp objects, making the Galaxy Z Fold 6 not only durable for a foldable, but also durable for a smartphone. 

3. You're here for the AI

It's no surprise that many of the new features on the Galaxy Z Fold 6 are centered around AI functionality, and the device's large screen makes it well-suited for some of the most impressive new features. 

  • Google Gemini comes fully integrated into the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and can fully replace the onboard assistant. The overlay is available by swiping the corner of the screen or through the "Hey Google" voice prompt.
  • When browsing images, the Circle to Search function leverages AI to determine what you're looking at and provide search results from the web.
  • The AI-powered ProVision engine on the Fold 6 brings what Samsung hopes will be the next generation of creator tools, from image enhancement and editing to instant slow-mo video filters, all with ray tracing technology on the 7.6-inch display.
  • Note Assist in the Samsung Notes app leverages AI to provide translation and summaries from meeting notes, text documents, and PDFs.
  • The Sketch to image function allows the phone's AI to create professional-looking images out of simple sketches and drawings. 

You should buy the Galaxy Z Fold 5 if...

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
Kerry Wan/ZDNET

1. You want to save money on a foldable 

It might seem obvious, but the biggest reason to spring for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the price. While the new version comes with a list of flashy new AI features and integrations, many of the core specifications of these two phones are very similar. In fact, the phone's memory and storage configurations remain the same, and so does the battery capacity. 

If you're willing to wait a little longer, we'll likely see additional discounts on the Galaxy Z Fold 5 once the Galaxy Z Fold 6 is generally available on July 24th and then again in the fall. 

Alternatives to consider

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